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Lecture 12 - Communication - Notes

The great advantage is that you can switch between mathematical, biological, psychological and sociological  frames of reference.

  As the citizens of less developed countries are increasingly viewed through the prism of consumerism, control of their values and purchasing patterns becomes increasingly important to multinational firms.
At its peak in mid-1990s, Baywatch was watched by more than 1 billion people a week in nearly 150 countries.

The Baywatch Theory of Art doesn’t distinguish between a work of art and the kind of object that it represents. For example, it doesn’t distinguish between a sculpture that represents a woman with big breasts and a woman with big breasts. John Hyman
The Semiotics Of Bay watch
Surf and Simulation: Baudrillard and Baywatch Marc Kipness

‘Baywatch’s hard bodies triumph with ease over the defenceless antibodies of other cultures’

David Hasselhoff : A Semiotic Approach to One of the World’ s Most Recognized Images  Diane Stevenson

Hasselhoffs physical signifiers—height , age, tight buns, six pack, suntan, wavy hair, chest hair, voice—and his character, Mitch Buchanon, lead to a surprising semiotic thesis

Decoding Baywatch: A Cross‐Cultural, Ethnographic Study Tamar Liebes

Bakhtin Goes to the Beach: Dialogism and Baywatch Michael Dunne

Mirrors of Sand: Baywatch from a Lacanian Perspective Elizabeth Kubek


The first code is linguistic. To encode it we need to be able to read French.
The next linguistic sign ‘Panzani’ is Italian and encodes not simply the name of the firm but also an additional signified, that of 'Italianicity'. The linguistic message is therefore twofold: denotational and connotational. This would not work in Italy.
The next code involves the image. This provides a series of discontinuous signs. First (the order is unimportant as these signs are not linear), the scene represents a return from the market. A signified which itself implies two values: that of the freshness of the products and that of the essentially domestic preparation for which they are destined. Its signifier is the half-open bag which lets the provisions spill out over the table, 'unpacked'. You can read this sign in a variety of ways. The bag is a net. Fishing is a basic form of catching food, and if ‘in the net’ the food must be very fresh. A second sign is more or less equally evident; its signifier is the bringing together of the tomato, the pepper and the tricoloured hues (yellow, green, red) of the poster; its signified is Italianicity.
The collection of different foods (onions, tomatoes, mushrooms etc) makes it feel is as though Panzani provides everything necessary for a carefully balanced dish and it also seems as though the concentrate in the tin were equivalent to the natural produce surrounding it.
The composition of the image, evokes the memory of innumerable paintings, and produces an aesthetic signified: the 'still life'; the knowledge on which this sign depends is therefore also heavily cultural.
The colour is rich and sensual suggesting that this is a ‘quality’ product.
The shape and orientation of the image is ‘portrait’, suggesting this is person to person communication, therefore you should be interested. 

The Incredulity of St Thomas by Caravaggio
The basic physical nature of communication rests in the fact we inhabit a body and that our senses are dominated by touch
Sheets-Johnson, M (2009) The Corporeal Turn: An Interdisciplinary Reader  London: Imprint

The Embodied Mind
Communication seen as an extension of the nervous system. It starts with an awareness of the body. Language is seen as part of that system existing as as neuronal pathways that are linked within the brain. The key is a physiological classification of coding and encoding.

The process of interpretation is central

Unlike the semiotic tradition, where interpretation is separate from reality, in the phenomenological tradition we are interested in what is real for the person.
Interpretation emerges from a hermeneutic circle in which interpreters constantly go back and forth between experience and assigning meaning.

Three schools of the phenomenological tradition
Classical phenomenology. Key thinker Edward Husserl, who states that it is highly objective and claims the world can be experienced, through bracketing, the putting aside of bias without the knower bringing his or her own categories to bear. This is often criticised as being an impossible task.
The phenomenology of perception. Key thinker Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Most contemporary phenomenology rejects the objectivist view and posits that we can only know things through our personal, subjective relationship to things.
Hermeneutic phenomenology, the interpretation of being, extends the subjective tradition even further by incorporating the communication system itself as a further interpretive mechanism.
Hermeneutics, can be thought of as a type of reading between the lines: Interpretations of interpretations, reflecting the fact that communication is a matter of dialogue and is multi-channel.

Simple changes
in spacing can dramatically change meaning.

Gestalt perceptual factors build a visual frame of reference which can provide the designer with a reliable
psychological basis for the spatial organization of graphic information.”
Greg Berryman


If defining yourself in terms of your identity with terms such as father, Catholic, student, lesbian, Asian, Yorkshire etc. you are defining yourself in terms of your identity as part of a group and this group frames your cultural identity.
The sociocultural tradition looks at how these cultural understandings, roles and rules are worked out interactively in communication.
Context is seen as being crucial to forms and meanings  of communication.

Using socio-cultural communication theory to understand both how to educate and how beliefs may have been built up




Seeing semiotics explained in a more visual way helped me get my head around it a lot more. This video is great.

This is also really interesting. This man speaks about semiotics by breaking rules via simple examples then explaining it. Much easier to understand this way.

I came across this infograph from the independent newspaper. It is well designed, easy to understand and gives a little history of semiotics in bite-size chunks. 

Visible Signs by David Crow is a really useful book about semiotics which i bought at the start of the year. but didn't read thoroughly enough. Now, i'm going back a re-reading sections of the book and feel that my knowledge is growing about semiotics. VERY GOOD BOOK! I reccomend it!

Examples Of Semiotics

There is an important thing present in advertising and other design uses, that we call semiotics. Actually, it’s present in everything in our lives, so deep that we don’t always pay attention and it happens naturally. So, what is this thing that surrounds us and is so important for design and advertising? The semiotics is the study of signs, and through them, it studies the origins of meaning in different languages of communication.
It goes deep into communication languages, verbal or non-verbal, to even understand why we think about the image of a rose when we hear the word “rose”. Why is this sound or theses letters connected to this object? What is the relation between them that makes the meaning? And more, why do we think about passion when we think about the rose? Though? Just a little, but we’ll talk more about it and show how to use this knowledge for communication and persuasion.

First, know what is a sign and its kinds. A sign is anything that makes meaning. Anything? Sure, if you see/hear something and understand that, it is a sign. They are the mediators to the world. According to Saussure, the signs have two aspects: signifier and signified. The first one is the material that has a meaning and the second one is the meaning. For example, the open sign is the signifier, while the signified is that you can go in.

Index – They indicate something. The index connected with its meaning (not arbitrary) but unlike the icon, it’s not the object itself. As examples, we can say that smoke indicates fire, smiles indicate happiness, fresh coffee smell in the morning indicates that someone preparing breakfast. Even medical symptoms and measuring instruments are indexes, because they indicate something.

Symbols – They have no resemblance to the real object, it’s  a result of a convention. A symbol can only make meaning if the person already knows that, so, this is a matter of culture and previous knowledge. We all know that a dove represents peace, but there’s no connection between the animal and peace, it’s just a convention. Letters and words are examples of symbols. The graph sign (words) has no direct link to the thing itself, but for each culture, they make meaning. For us, the mourning is represented by the color black, but this color changes for different countries and cultures.

Above, an advert about advertising - Connotations 

meat package, distributed largely in supermarkets, as a common commodity. When they put the image of a woman instead of the meat there’s a clear comparison with the woman – a prostitute – and a piece of meat. 

the use of simplified pictograms are used all over the world to make it easier to underrstand important information. You'll be able to guess what these mean...

Hiking/Waling - Food/Cafe - Toilets Male Female - Airport - Medical/Hospital - Recycle - Trash/Bin It -Petrol Pump/Gas Station - Telephone


interesting video that shows the basics of linguistics. 

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